“No relationship can survive without trust, honesty, and communication, no matter how close you are.”
~ J. Sterling
Finding the right words to express how you feel is never easy, especially if your feelings are hurt.
To express hurtful or painful emotions requires you to go outside your comfort zone. Being able to acknowledge painful emotions requires honesty, courage and most importantly, vulnerability.
Even if you weren’t taught how to express yourself or it wasn’t modeled to you as a child, you can learn. Even if you feel nothing you can possibly do will change the way you feel or the pain your holding inside, you can learn.
Here are specific steps to release your hurt and heal:
1. Take responsibility
No matter what you have experienced, you are in charge of how you feel. What I mean by this is, no one “makes” you feel anything. Even the most hurtful things require you to take responsibility for how you feel. Just taking ownership of your feelings will empower you.
2. Connect to your truth
You might be thinking, “Will my heart ever stop aching?” The answer is, yes. Your heart will stop aching when you listen to it.
I encourage you to sit quietly and connect to your heart. Your heart will tell you what you need. Your heart will tell you what you need to do. Your heart will tell you what your “truth” is. If you try this and don’t feel the guidance, try it another time. Guidance will happen when you least expect it.
3. Journal your hurt feelings
Often we can address issues and heal on our own. A simple exercise is to write in a journal the event that was hurtful, how it impacted you then (feelings, thoughts etc.) and how it still impacts you now.
Examples: “What I felt then is _____.” “What I feel now is _____,” “What I needed then is _____,” and “What I need now is _____.”
Remember to begin sentences with “I feel,” “I need,” etc. Just a simple “I” sentence will begin to connect you to your experience.
4. Express feelings to your partner
A few things you might be thinking at this point. “Should I express how I feel to my partner?” “Will it help or hurt to do so?”
It’s perfectly normal to be ambivalent about opening up. If you are feeling this way, try journaling first. Give it a few days or even a week and see how you feel. If you are still struggling with letting it go, it may be time to share how you feel.
Here is an example script on how to do so:
“I’ve been struggling with something that happened between us, and trying to find the words to express it. I know it’s something from a long time ago (fill in the blank), but it’s best for me to let you know how I feel. What I need from you is to listen. If you have something to say that’s fine too.”
5. Let it go
After you have acknowledged your feelings, first to yourself, and then to your partner, it is time to “let it go.” What I mean by this is, trust the process that is unfolding. Trust that the process will heal you in whatever way it needs to. Don’t do anything to control the outcome. Just trust it. It’s that simple.
6. Deal with your baggage
If you are at this step in the process, you might be thinking, “But, I still feel hurt, I still feel rejected, I still feel betrayed, I still feel (fill in the blank.)”
Often, the things that hurt us deeply are rooted in childhood wounds – wounds that we carry unconsciously into adulthood. These are the very wounds we haven’t dealt with or healed from.
Often, our adult relationships symbolize these very relationships and we unconsciously play out our original families (parent-child relationships) in our adult lives.
If you find yourself trying to seek validation or approval from anything or anyone outside you, you need to look inward, at yourself.
An example of this is. When you are expressing over and over again what you need to your partner or feeling repeatedly hurt that your partner isn’t listening or validating your needs or feelings; in this case, expressing your feelings to your partner is not the issue. The issue is much deeper. The issue is not him, it’s you. Look at it. Deal with it. Heal from it.
Our emotions are so precious. We feel them from an early age, innately and spontaneously. Over the years, the spontaneity dies and the openness fades. Painful events often bring them to the surface. Pay attention to how you feel. Listen to your heart. Remember, the truth will set you free.
Kavita A. Hatten, MS, LPC, NCC – www.phoenixcounseling.net
Love can be treacherous. It requires a great deal of vulnerability which tends to place us in a fragile position where we are at greatest risk of being hurt.
Because of this we tend to have high expectations of those we love, to cherish and protect our feelings and wellbeing at all times. So how do we navigate situations when those we love hurt us?
Oftentimes, the easiest method is a direct line of communication.
This can be a tricky proposition for many, especially those who are uncomfortable with confrontation or fear how someone will react to their words.
The tendency then often goes towards initiating circular conversations trying to “soften the edges” of seemingly harsh words but often backfires creating misunderstandings from the nuance.
So a well-meaning conversation can go downhill quickly.
I like to refer to these moments as ac/dc where you are trying to have one conversation but it is completely misunderstood and your message is not being received in the manner in which you intended.
So how do you approach this situation to get the results you desire?
- Before engaging a conversation, explore your thoughts and gain clarity into your emotions. What are you feeling and why?
- Reality-check your thoughts. Are you in a triggered or reactive state? Oftentimes it is best to find ways to soothe yourself or turn down the emotion before engaging in conversations of this nature so you can better communicate your thoughts and avoid conversations turning into arguments.
- Problem-solve the situation. What could prevent the same situation or issue from happening again? Is there a miscommunication that needs to be cleared up to prevent recurrence?
- Do not place blame, as this will create a defensive response and the communication will shut down.
- Refrain from giving ultimatums as this will be met with resistance and your message will be lost.
- Be open to hearing their perspective.
Once you have filtered through your emotions you will be in a better frame of mind to communicate your thoughts to your partner. Keep your message simple, clear and keep the lines communication open.
Stacey Shumway Johnson, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, BCC – www.2xlcoach.com
When we get hurt, we feel disconnected.
We often want to reach out to our man to tell him how he hurt us as a way to feel heard and understood and to rebuild our connection. But what we don’t understand is by doing that we often get the exact opposite result we desire, our man pulls further away. Why is that?
It’s how we communicate with our man.
We’ve all done it this way. We go to our man and want to give him a list of how he hurt us thinking that by knowing this he will “get us” and apologize as well as learn how to not repeat hurting us in that way again. But interestingly enough, if we approach our main this way, he won’t even be able to listen past the first sentences. And it’s not his fault.
He is reacting to the energy and words we women bring to the table.
He hears blame, maybe even shame, and starts to feel guilty for doing something he likely didn’t mean to do. And then he shuts down. Before we even get everything out of our mouths, he has closed off emotionally.
He doesn’t want the woman he loves to be hurt, especially by something he may have said or done. Yet, when we talk to our man about how “he hurt us,” his worst fear is realized. And ladies, this is a man’s fear: that he doesn’t live up to the man he wants to be for us, and he isn’t our hero.
Instead, when our man hurts us in some way, we must first hold ourselves accountable for the feelings we are feeling.
- Is the depth of hurt we feel truly about our man, the one in front of us, or is he unknowingly pushing on an old trigger created by a past romantic relationship or childhood family dynamic?
- Has our man hurt our feelings this way before and did we chose to keep quiet those other times until now when we are ready to pop with anger and frustration?
- What part do we play in this hurt?
By owning our responsibility in this situation, we can diffuse a lot of the disruptive energy and focus on getting intimate with our man.
When we get hurt and angry at our man, getting intimate with him may feel like the last thing we want to do. But it is exactly what we need to do.
When we are ready to talk with our man, we need to drop down into our heart center, ground out, find strength from within, and share how our man’s behavior or words made us feel but without laying blame. Sound confusing?
It might because we women may have unconsciously avoided sharing our true feelings for fear of being rejected or unloved.
Yet it’s in risking vulnerably by sharing those deeper feelings with our man that actually brings him closer to us.
For example, if our man suddenly cancels our date last minute, we feel hurt, disrespected and angry. But if we dig deeper and get real with our feelings, we might discover we are hurt because we feel insignificant, worthless and maybe even abandoned.
Those are tough feelings to allow ourselves to feel. Yet in doing so we create strength. Then when we speak to our man we get to share openly how we feel.
For example we might say: “When our date was cancelled suddenly, I felt sad and it brought up feelings of being abandoned and alone. I know that wasn’t your intention and yet I still felt yucky. I know sometimes things come up that may mean we need to cancel plans, yet I don’t like feeling abandoned. I don’t know what to do. What do you think?”
If we are vulnerable, share our feelings honestly, then offer him the opportunity to step in and be our hero, our man will comfort us and fall deeper in love with us, as well as be motivated to find a solution that works for you both.
He invited to respond, not react, to the energy and feelings we share with him.
Kate Houston, Love Coach – www.fabulousandfearlessover40.com
Part of the benefits of having a love relationship is the sense of being understood and valued by your partner.
When you’re happy, you want him to share in your joy. When you’re hurting, you want him to offer caring and empathy. However, one of the dilemmas of any relationship is that your partner can be the one that inflicts the hurt—sometimes accidentally, or because of a conflict or disagreement, or simply being in a negative or hostile mood.
So, when your partner is the source of the hurt, it can be difficult for you both when you want him to soothe and care about your hurt—especially if he’s still angry or hurt himself.
The first step when you feel hurt due to your partner’s behavior is to calm and soothe yourself.
Breathe. Take a walk, take a bath, meditate, or whatever calms your body. A relaxed body helps your mind quiet down so that you can think things through.
Try to step outside yourself and review the interaction you had from both your perspective and his—keeping your sense of caring and love active.
- Was there a misunderstanding?
- Did you have an expectation or assumption that you hadn’t made clear?
- What exactly was the part that felt hurtful to you?
- Was there a breach of trust?
Try to rate the level of hurt you felt from 1 to 10.
Then write out or think though exactly what you want to tell your partner about what you feel and why.
If you really want him to hear what you have to say, it’s important to avoid starting out with the word YOU because that will immediately feel like an attack and will most likely trigger his defensiveness.
Try instead, being CURIOUS.
Start with: I’m wondering why…..I was confused when….Could you tell me what you were thinking/feeling when… Learn more about what was going on for him. Then share what you were thinking and feeling. This creates more of a dialog rather than a contest about who is right and who’s wrong.
Working on solving issues together—even when you disagree—is the goal.
Keeping your sense of respect and trust in each other is essential. When your relationship is very new, these kinds of dialogs help to forge a bond of trust and confidence. Attacks and defensiveness cause uneasiness and anxiety, and make long-term intimacy difficult.
Let’s go back to the title—I want him to know how much he hurt me.
- If your goal is to show him how awful he was to you, I’m wondering what your deeper motivation is?
- Is he often hurtful and uncaring?
- Do you actually feel that he doesn’t really care about you?
- Has he done something that has broken your sense of commitment, loyalty or morals values?
- Do you find yourself often feeling hurt and rejected?
If these bigger issues are becoming apparent, you need to evaluate for yourself whether this is the relationship that you want.
If it isn’t meeting what is important to you, having a conversation about these significant concerns will be necessary or things will just get worse and worse. However, having a fight with accusations and demands won’t improve things. So, use the same steps that I’ve outlined above.
Also, look at your motivation for wanting him to know how much you’re hurting.
My guess is that you’re wanting him to change—to care more, to be more empathetic, to understand you and do what you want him to do. If that is the case, it’s worth assessing whether he’s likely to make those changes, based on what you already know about his personality.
From my experience getting someone to change daily habits is hard enough. Trying to get someone to change who they are, how they feel, or what they want to do, is next to impossible. I’m not sure it’s even a fair thing to expect or demand.
If you really don’t like the way your partner treats you when he’s under stress, having a bad day, or just not thinking, why are you still there?
It’s not your job to change someone to fit the picture of what you want of a partner. It makes much more sense to leave and go find someone who already fits what you want.
Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT – www.margalistherapy.com
There is an idea that might be perpetuated by TV shows, movies, and books, that happy and healthy relationships don’t include episodes of hurt feelings.The truth is that when two or more human-beings become vulnerable and intimate with each other, occasional hurt feelings are inevitable.
The key in maintaining a healthy relationship is not to avoid hurt feelings, but to know how to handle it when feelings get hurt.
Ignoring the pain, being passive-aggressive, or trying to hurt your partner in response won’t get you closer to your goal of a happy, healthy relationship**.
1. Don’t Let It Fester
Some of the biggest fights I’ve seen couples have come from a smaller conflict that could have been dealt with years before the big blow out.
If hurt feelings are ignored or suppressed, those feelings could fester and become deeper.
Plan to share your feelings with your partner before it intensifies and begins to infiltrate other areas of your relationship.
2. Take A Time Out
Have you ever seen a toddler have a tantrum? They fall to the ground, cry, yell, kick, and scream. Can you say anything to the toddler that they will understand while they are having a tantrum?
Usually not. That’s because the part of the brain that is active during a tantrum is disconnected from the part of the brain that controls rational thought. The same thing happens to adults when we are upset, angry, or triggered. Toddlers need adults to help them learn to emotionally regulate before they can calm down and listen.
As adults, we need to help ourselves emotionally regulate before having a conversation about hurt feelings.
That’s because if we enter the conversation already upset, we might say things we don’t mean, it will probably be hard to listen, and it doesn’t take much to increase your negative arousal.
So take a few minutes to do the things that help you calm down. Take a few deep breaths. Take a walk. Play with your pet. Do a few yoga stretches. Whatever you chose, take a time out to calm down before talking.
3. Communicate Your Feelings Clearly
When you’ve calmed down, talk to your partner about what happened and how you feel. Instead of using blaming language, use language that speaks to your experience and your feelings.
Use “I” statements such as, “I feel…” or “I think”.
When you explain how you feel, try to do it in language that clearly explains how you feel and leave out assumptions of why you think your partner behaved the way they did.
4. Ask For What You Need
One common reason for hurt feelings to turn into a bigger conflict is that there is no call to action. The responding partner has no idea what they can do to make the situation better.
After you explain that your feelings were hurt, ask your partner for what you need from them.
Do you need an apology? Do you want them to take a particular action? If you can, make it clear what your partner can do to help adjust the situation.
5. Take Responsibility
When feelings get hurt it becomes all too easy to put all of the blame on the other person. In reality, many conflicts are caused by actions or inactions of both people.
Take a moment to feel where you can take responsibility for your actions.
Perhaps you were not clear about particular plans or intentions. Or maybe you were not honest that a certain thing hurts your feelings. If appropriate, let your partner know what responsibility you take and how you can help avoid such conflicts in the future.
While most people would love to have a relationship where feelings don’t ever get hurt, that is not realistic.
What is realistic and helpful is practicing ways to address hurt feeling through accountability, communication, and vulnerability. As for most situations that involve these three attributes, increased intimacy is often the result.
**The advice in this article is meant for people in a healthy, stable, and communicative relationship. It does not refer to incidents of domestic violence, emotional, verbal, sexual, or physical abuse.
If you think you may be experiencing abuse, please reach out for help. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.
Jodi Erin, LPC, MA, RDT – www.jodierin.com
If your present boyfriend hurt you and you want him to know how much, here’s what you need to do.
Open up a conversation, by stating, ‘The other day, I felt very hurt, when we…..” Let’s talk about that.” “I need to get some stuff off my chest.”
The goal is to create a discussion, not a blaming fest, where you listen to him and he listens to you.
You do not want to make him feel defensive with many “YOU” statements thrown at him. In other words, avoid saying, “YOU were so insensitive when YOU…” Instead, listen to what he has to say and hopefully, with the knowledge that he hurt you, he will make amends with a sincere apology.
If, on the other hand, you are no longer seeing the guy who hurt you, then he may never know the pain, anger and heartache you are experiencing.
After all, the relationship is over and you shouldn’t be having any contact with him anymore. Your job at this point is to move on and find a nicer, more compatible guy who will treat you well and not hurt you.
However, if you are carrying this resentment into your new relationship, you are going to sabotage your potential new match. Here’s why:
You are focusing your time, emotional energy and overall behavior on how you can let your old boyfriend know that he was a jerk and that you are mad. That kind of behavior does not lend itself to forming a nurturing, more loving relationship with someone new, and, of course, that is your goal.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
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